Episode 4: Nightmare Victoria
As Zechs and the Tallgeese head for Lake Victoria Base, the crew reports that 55% of the Corsica base was destroyed by the enemy attack. Zechs reviews the data Walker compiled on the Gundams and silently thanks the dead pilot. They are contacted by Victoria Base. A young woman in white salutes and seems to pray a moment before approaching the screen. "It's been a long time, Captain Zechs."
"As always, Noin."
"You seem to have kept busy. Even if we here at Victoria have heard rumors of the 'Lightening Baron'."
"I don't like the connotations of 'rumors'. Your allies expect more from you, and it makes you target of your enemies."
"The rumors are good. How are the rumors about me? " she asks.
"That you're coming along well, training pilots for space battle. Your pilots are first-rate. But why do you do it if you don't like war?"
"I'm honored you remember my dislike of war. I love space," she explains.
Later, she works with her cadets in a zero gravity room. She steps to them for their mistakes; she doesn't want them to embarrass her in front of Zechs. "Zechs, it's been one year and twenty two days," she thinks.
Not far away, Wufei contemplates the sunset before he sets off on his next mission.
Still en route, Zechs' crew informs him that the one enemy mobile suit disappeared after crossing the equator. "So he's after Noin's Taurus space mobile suits," concludes Zechs. "Well, they're so lax about security here, even the local kids know they're building Taurus models." Zechs is a little concerned about the trouble his presence might bring.
"You and Noin attended the Victoria Training Academy at the same time, didn't you?" comments his second. "Everyone knows the top two graduates of that period. You were always number one."
"She always aimed for number two," Zechs explains, "She always supported me. Now, I'm going to need for help, again."
In her quarters, Noin says, "Zechs Merquise... no... Peacecraft... You have come for my help."
Later, she addresses her cadets and announces that the are now members of the Specials. Their Tauruses are unveiled and she tells them that they have been targeted by the enemy. "Your first OZ mission is to get them off the base."
"Couldn't one of the cargo crews do it?" asks one of the men .
She slaps him in response. "I taught you to take care of your mechs yourself!" she snaps. "Get ready immediately!"
In one of the base's lounges, Zechs and Noin discuss the situation amidst flashing colored lights and bar stools. "When will the Tauruses be ready to go?" asks Zechs.
"By 7 AM."
"That's cutting it a little short."
"I hear they don't show up on radar, so I've increased the number of guards." she says.
"Naturally, you've chosen the appropriate measure."
"Thank you very much, Captain Zechs."
"Just ' Zechs,' Noin. Isn't this room of that much?"
"It was put in for the younger cadets."
"If you get too involved, it'll be tough when they go."
"Thank you for your concern," she replies, "but my cadets won't die. They won't be reckless. I think respect for life and war cannot be united."
"I just lost one of my men," says Zechs. "I think I could argue that point, Noin..."
"A fight in which you risk your life is a miscalculation. I feel sorry for the soldier who is hunted down and killed."
They are interrupted by a call for Zechs. His second reports the Tallgeese is surprisingly advanced and coming along ahead of schedule. It'll still be one to two months before completion, however. Zechs thanks him and it in silence that follows Noin taps her sword against his.
That night, explosions rip through the base. The barracks are under attack; Wufei targeted her cadets first. Noin rushes to the scene. "I wanted to go to space," murmurs one of her cadets as he dies in her arms. She barks out orders.
"Find him! He should be right in front of you!"
In the command center, she learns that Zechs is on his way and orders the Tauruses loaded immediately. It will take 30 minutes to get them all away. Then they'll have to hold off the enemy for that long!
Noin leaves to command the mobile suits. In her suit, she inputs the base's heat scans and locates Wufei on a motorcycle. She commands the Aires squad to follow as she hunts for Wufei. "Stop or I'll shoot!" Wufei ignores her, and she realizes he must have the Gundam as backup nearby. She commands the others to bring the Space Beam Cannon. The squad is concerned; on earth they can't control the heat exhaust. "It doesn't matter; so long as it fires once!"
Zechs arrives to see the Aires units leave and realizes Noin is the one hunting the enemy.
She shoots and Wufei crashes. "You fight like a coward, to attack the men and not the mechs! How can you call yourself a man?"
"I've heard that before," says Wufei as he rises. She's shocked he's a boy. "A woman? So she's soft," says Wufei. He flips his nearby satchel into the air with his foot and kicks it. In the resulting light flash, he escapes. Giving chase, she realizes she's outrun him and turns around.
The Aires units arrive with the Cannon and are about to shoot. "Wait!" she cries.
"Because she's a woman!" replies Wufei. He destroys the Aires units and cripples her ship in seconds.
Back at the base, Zechs is against panicking and moving the Tauruses. He thinks the enemy won't come; he wouldn't send them out even if Noin told him to. The base officer decides to send off one of the ships with Tauruses. "I'm calm. When you make a decision when you're calm, you don't regret it, no matter what the outcome," says Zechs. The officer ignores him and gives the order to go.
Wufei uses the Cannon to destroy the ship as it takes off. He turns to Noin. "Woman, are you listening? You are a terrible soldier, letting down your guard because you thought of me as a child. I don't kill the weak and women," he concludes and takes off.
Elsewhere, the sun has not yet set for Heero as he works on his battered Gundam. "Hey!" says Duo. "I said ' Hey! '" Heero hardly glances up. Duo is annoyed; why won't Heero except their hospitality and let them supply and help with his ships repairs?
"I don't want anyone touching my mech," explains Heero, "that's all."
"Oh, you say that all right, but how are you going to fix it without spare parts? No matter how good an engineer, you can do it. It's not like your leg; it won't be fixed by force. You got that?" Heero doesn't respond. "Why did I help this guy? He's untalkative, unfriendly and reckless. If I were like him, I'd have stopped being human a long time ago."
"Hey," says Heero.
"What!?" grumbles Duo. "Even if you ask for help, now, I won't give it."
"Would you mind keeping it down a little?"
A signal goes off in Heero's cockpit. He finds out the enemy's going to move a shipment of 'gundanium' and he needs to destroy it. "Not in the ship you can't," comments Duo.
"You can't, but I can."
Duo leaves him. He realizes Heero will have to kill himself if he fails, but thinks this type of situation suits Heero's personality perfectly.
Back in Japan, Relena looks out over the sea and rising sun and calls, "Heero, hurry back and kill me!"
Mr. Dorian is in a meeting with other United Federation officials. They're discussing the situation involving the Gundams. The mechs have been made from 'gundanium' which can only be produced in the colonies, so it's safe to assume that they've been sent by the colonies. The United Federation is considering retaliation and they discuss whose military should lead the assault. Mr. Dorian suggests the attacks of a few people should not be considered representative of the attitude of everyone on the colonies. The suggestion is not warmly received. Mr. Dorian asserts that the colonies want peace more than anyone. One of the military suggests she's a spy. "What nonsense," replies Dorian. Admiral Septum asks Dorian to leave. "Don't you see, you are the ones who are dangerous," says Dorian. This infuriates Septum.
Elsewhere, in some acropolitan tub, Tries talks with Lady Une, his right hand woman. He is pleased with the way things are working out. "About Vice-Minister Dorian..." Lady Une will take care of that.
Night has fallen for Duo and his crew. Duo thinks to check on Heero, then thinks better of it. The next morning they're all surprised that Heero has fixed his mech and taken off. "I can't believe it! He actually did it; he fixed his mech!" Duo shouts in appreciation. His appreciation is short-lived; Heero stole Deathscythe's parts to do his fixing!
Heero completes his mission and laughs.
On Quatre's estate, he plays the violin. He's surprised and pleased when Trowa picks up a flute and joins in. In the hanger beneath them, Quatre's people are repairing the mechs damaged in the Corsica attack. The crew realize Quatre's and Trowa's mechs are too similar. That's why Quatre is so concerned about it, explains the squad leader. He's just glad that the person who is Quatre's equal is not his enemy.
At Victoria, Noin's ship is brought back to the base. Zechs is there to meet her. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, but my heart and body have been tattered," replies Noin.
"I'm glad you survived," he says, as he helps her out.
"Because if I'd died, they'd promote you two ranks?"
"If you're that strong, and you are all right."
"Zechs, I want to fight alongside you! I want to get rid of my softness!"
"That Gundam got the better of me, too. Next time, he won't get things his way. I would be heartened if you helped me."
Somewhere on the veldt, Wufei is surrounded by jackals. He is frustrated by their weakness. Having fought weak enemies has made him feel hollow. He expresses his frustration to the empty sky.
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